Biloxi Work Injury Attorneys Standing Up for the Rights of Clients Hurt on the Job
Work injuries can happen to anyone, regardless of their industry or work environment. While some professions are notoriously more dangerous than others – such as construction work or manufacturing – even someone who sits at a desk all day is not free from getting hurt or developing an occupational disease. Our attorneys explain what you should do if you are hurt at work or diagnosed with a job-related illness.
What Is Considered a Work Injury in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, work injuries are covered by worker’s compensation insurance. A work injury, in this sense, is understood as any injury that occurred while you were on the job and carrying out a task that is within your scope of employment and for the benefit of the employer. Any job-related injury that falls within this description is covered by worker’s comp, regardless of the severity of the injury and who may have been at fault for it.
There is, however, an important exception to this rule. In 2012, updates to the state’s legislation excluded work injuries that happened while a worker was intoxicated. Employers are now allowed to require a worker to undergo drug and alcohol testing following an injury, and if the employee fails the test, that employee will likely need to prove that the injury occurred regardless of the impairment.
Are Occupational Diseases Covered by Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s compensation insurance also covers medical conditions known as occupational diseases, which are often caused by exposure to certain unfavorable environmental conditions at the workplace. For example, workers that are required to lift loads of up to 50 lbs. daily may develop back or spine problems over time. Employees who are exposed to chemicals or vapors regularly may develop lung disease or cancer. Even someone sitting at a desk typing on a computer for several hours a day can develop tendonitis or a similar condition caused by repetitive movements.
Mississippi laws define an occupational disease as one “ deemed to arise out of and in the course of employment when there is evidence that there is a direct causal connection between the work performed and the occupational disease.” If you have been diagnosed with an occupational disease, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible, so that you may receive coverage for your medical expenses once your claim is approved by your employer’s worker’s comp insurance.
Can You Sue an Employer While Receiving Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
Many workers hurt on the job due to an unsafe situation resulting from their employer’s negligence often wonder if it is possible to sue their employer in order to receive additional compensation for their injuries while still receiving worker’s compensation benefits. Because the state of Mississippi adopted a no-fault system for worker’s compensation (which covers all job-related injuries regardless of who was at fault for them), any lawsuit against the employer is not allowed. In other words, if you are covered by worker’s compensation, you may not sue your employer.
However, some situations may allow you to sue a third party for your injuries while receiving benefits from your employer. In cases where the injury was caused by a faulty piece of equipment, for example, you might be able to initiate a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of that piece of equipment. If an independent contractor was at fault for your injury, you might be able to seek compensation from that individual through a personal injury lawsuit. While you may not sue your employer directly, initiating a civil suit against a third party does not affect your eligibility to receive worker’s compensation benefits. As always, speak to an attorney to discuss the right course of action for your case.
Is There a Deadline for Reporting a Work Injury in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, injured workers expecting to receive worker’s compensation coverage for their injuries need to observe a few important deadlines. First, you are required to report your injury to your employer within 30 days. In addition, you are required to initiate a claim within two years of the date when your accident took place or the date when you were diagnosed with an occupational disease. Many workers’ comp claims are denied if workers fail to observe these deadlines.
That being said, it is important to report your injuries as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be for you to gather sufficient evidence to show you are unable to work due to your injury. If you are unsure about the steps you should take to initiate a worker’s compensation claim, consult with an attorney.
When Should I See a Work Injury Attorney?
Working with a work injury attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of handling worker’s compensation claims in Mississippi may be of great benefit to you and your case. Many workers’ comp claims are denied the first time you file, so it is important to be working with a professional who can help you with the appeal process if necessary. Your attorney can help protect your rights to receive adequate benefits after a work injury.
At the Rundlett Law Firm, PLLC, our attorneys are passionate about defending the rights of injured workers in Biloxi, MS, and surrounding areas. We understand how it may often be overwhelming to try to navigate the Mississippi worker’s comp system, and we are ready to assist you. If you have been injured at work, do not hesitate to contact our office at 228-338-1515 and request an initial consultation to discuss your case.